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Rail News: Intermodal

AAR data shows North American railroads stumble out of freight-traffic starting gate


After a banner 2006, U.S. railroads didn’t get off to a good freight-traffic start in 2007.

During the year’s first week ending Jan. 6, the roads’ originated carloads dropped 7.2 percent to 286,752 units and intermodal loads decreased 1.8 percent to 188,585 compared with 2006’s first week, which also included New Year’s Day, according to the Association of American Railroads. Total estimated volume of 29 billion ton-miles fell 6.1 percent.

“Admittedly, one week does not make a trend, and volumes are typically light at this time of year,” said Bank of America Securities analyst Scott Flower in the firm’s weekly rail traffic report. “Yet, the volume decline is consistent with expectations for moderating GDP growth in ’07, and a housing and auto drag in the U.S. economy.”

Canadian railroads reported traffic declines, too. Originated carloads totaling 69,753 units decreased 0.4 percent and intermodal loads totaling 32,464 units dropped 7.3 percent compared with similar 2006 data.

On a combined volume basis, 13 reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads originated 356,505 carloads, down 6 percent, and 221,049 trailers and containers, down 2.6 percent compared with last year.

In Mexico, Kansas City Southern de México S.A. de C.V.’s total carloads fell 25.8 percent to 8,018 units and total intermodal volume decreased 2 percent to 2,285 units compared with similar 2006 data.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/12/2007